I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir, 1913
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Special arrangements have been made with the creatures of Funks Grove to deliver wishlists to Santa!

Visit the mailbox on Imagination Grove Trail from now until
Christmas Eve

Maple Sirup Programs, 2018 Announced!

Click HERE for more information and to register today!

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Program Registration

Some programs below require advanced registration and payment. Space is limited.
Classes could be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met by the registration deadline.
Please contact us at 309-874-2174 or email register@sugargrovenaturecenter.org
for more information or to check availability after the registration deadline.

To Register for a program, please click the program title!

Programs for Kids

Little Wonders

Ages 3-5 with an adult chaperone
Wednesdays, 10:00-11:30 a.m. or 1:00-2:30 p.m.
March 21:  Red Fox
Kids and their adult chaperones will discover the wonders of nature in these hands-on, interactive classes.  A snack will accompany story time and a fun craft will be created.
Fee: $8/child members, $10/child non-members with an adult chaperone.
Registration and prepayment required by the Sunday before the program.


Programs for All Ages

ABC Runners: Winter Wonderland Run
Saturday, January 13, 9:00 a.m. (Doors open at 8:30)
Come out to enjoy a winter wonderland by running, walking, snow-shoeing, or cross-country skiing in this event coordinated by the ABC Runners (Adventures Benefitting Children). Beverages and snacks will be provided. Bring something to share if you wish. Set out on a 7 mile loop course on roads or a 5 mile trail run. Runners of various paces attend and distances can be modified.  This event is free, with the opportunity for a free-will donation to Sugar Grove Nature Center’s children’s environmental education programs.
There is no fee, but donations in any amount are encouraged. Funds collected will benefit Sugar Grove Nature Center. No registration required.

Acoustic Irish Music Jam Session                          Blacksmith Demonstrations

Saturdays, January 20 & February 17,                       Saturdays, January 20, February 17,
10:00 a.m.-noon                                                          10:00 a.m.-noon
Free. No registration required.                                     Free. No registration required.

Acoustic musicians of all levels are invited              The public is invited to observe members
to join an Irish-music jam session!  Bring                  of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s Association
your instrument or just enjoy the music!                    as they work at the forge across the
For more details, email mtyner@iwu.edu.                 parking lot from the Nature Center.     

Campfire & S’mores Program: Groundhogs & Shadows

Saturday, February 3, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
 Learn about these “weather predicting” critters and how shadows work! Create a fun craft and enjoy s’mores around a toasty fire.
Fee: Free/members; $5/person non-members.
Registration and payment required by January 17.

Maple Sirup Public Experience Tours
Saturday, March 3rd, 2018;
Tour Times: 9:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

It’s the time of year when buckets decorate the sugar maples throughout Funks Grove. Have you ever tasted ‘sweet water’ dripping from a spile? Here’s your chance! Join us for the Funks Grove Maple Sirup Experience at Sugar Grove Nature Center on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018.
Gather around the fire at the sirup camp to learn how the Native Americans and early settlers collected and prepared sap. Visit the sugar shack where the smell of maple sirup hangs in the air. Journey into the sugarbush to tap a tree. Stop inside the Nature Center to sample a variety of sweet treats made with maple sirup including candy, cookies, veggies, fudge, and more!Tours last approximately 2½ hours and begin promptly at 9:30 a.m., Noon, and 2:30 p.m. Tour size is limited and advanced registration is required. Dress for the weather, as you will be outside for a major portion of the program. 
This program is suitable for adults, children, and other interested groups.
Fee: Members: $7/adult, $3/child; Non-Members: $9/adult, $5/child.
Fees are non-refundable unless the program is cancelled.

Tuesday Night Trail Runs

Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. from March 13 through October 30, 2017
Venture out to enjoy the trails or roads on Tuesday evenings. The usual trail route is 5 miles. Easy-to-follow road routes of 4 or 7 miles are also an option.  Don’t miss the post run party in the corn crib! Refuel and refresh while socializing with others. Snacks and water are provided, and you are encouraged to bring other beverages. Make it an adventure to look forward to each week! 
Fee: Free, donations appreciated. No registration required.

Campfire & S’mores Program: In Search of the Timberdoodle
Friday, March 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Also called the woodcock, the male bird can be seen in early spring spiraling into the sky then plummeting downward, hoping to impress the ladies!  After hearing their story, we’ll head outside where we will hopefully be able to spot them, then enjoy s’mores around the fire!  If you like, bring a lawn chair or blanket for woodcock watching.
Fee: Free/members; $5/person non-members. 
Registration and payment required by March 7.

Acoustic Irish Music Jam Session                         

Saturday, March 17; 10:00 a.m.-noon                        
It’s St. Patty’s Day! Spend your morning with the Irish Music Jam! Bring your instrument to join in or just enjoy the music! For more details, email mtyner@iwu.edu.    
Free. No registration required.                             

Blacksmith Demonstrations                                    

Saturday, March 17; 10:00 a.m.-noon
The public is invited to observe members of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s Association as they
work at the forge across the parking lot from the Nature Center.
Free. No registration required.

Twin City Amateur Astronomers Public Viewing Sessions: Orion, The Hunter

Saturday, March 17; 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Free.  No registration required.

Don’t miss the first Viewing Session of 2018!  A 20-30 minute presentation on the featured topic will be followed by a sky tour using a laser pointer and telescope observing.  Programs will be held even in the event of an overcast sky, but active rain will cause a cancellation of the event.  When uncertain if a session has been cancelled, check for updates on Facebook (Twin City Amateur Astronomers - TCAA) or twitter (@tc_astro).  For more information, visit www.tcaa.us.

Programs for Adults

Winter Tree Identification Workshop FULL
Thursday, January 11; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Can you identify trees by their leaves? What about whithout their leaves? Identifying trees in winter can be a real challenge. Join Debbie Fluegel, Certified Arborist and Trees Forever Program Manager, for a Winter Tree ID workshop. Elizabeth Burns from the United States Department of Agriculture APHIS Program will also be here to share information on forestry health in Illinios. This workshop is an in-depth training to learn basic plant morphology, characteristics, and terminology and studying twig speciments in an interactive format. We will then move outdoors to explore Funks Grove and practice identifying trees by putting your new skills to work.
Fee: $20 Nature Center and Trees Forever members; $25 non-members
Registration and payment required by January 7.

A Toast to Nature: Snowshoes & Schnapps
Sunday, January 14; 12:00-3:00 p.m.
Ages 21 and up.
Don’t let deep snow keep you from hiking and exploring the outdoors.
Discover snowshoeing! Dick Smith of WildCountry and Patti Koranda will
help you find a good fit then teach you to maneuver and float on the
snow. Most importantly, you will find out how much fun the snow can be!
Afterwards, warm up by the fire with hot apple cider plus cinnamon
schnapps or hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps, and plenty of
snacks! The use of snowshoes will be provided by WildCountry or bring
your own. No snow? No problem! Learn on the lawn so you’ll be prepared
for the next snowfall!
Fee: $20/members, $25/non-members.
Registration and payment required by January 5.

Winter Backyard Bird Watching Basics  

Thursday, February 8, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Winter brings many new birds to our backyards! Not sure what birds are visiting your feeders or need a refresher? Learn how to identify more than 30 winter residents and how to attract them. 
Fee: $10/members, $15/non-members. Registration and payment required by February 1

A Toast to Nature: Woodcocks & Wine  

Wednesday, March 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
These ground-nesting birds exhibit one of the most delightful courtship flights just before dawn and at dusk. Join us to learn more about this fascinating game bird that returns to fields, prairies, and pastures throughout central Illinois in mid-March, then head outside to (hopefully) spot them as they spiral toward the sky and fall to the ground. Bring your lawn chair, wine glass, and favorite wine if you like. We’ll also have some wines to sample from local wineries.
Fee: $20/members, $25/non-members.  Registration & payment required by March 15.
You must be 21 years old to attend this program.